A Father’s Unforgettable Journey With His Courageous Daughter

Coughing teen asks dad to take her to hospital – within hours, he's left broken

It’s common for people to catch a cold or flu during the winter months. Most of the time, we recover after taking some rest and proper care. But what if the symptoms persist and you feel sick for an extended period of time? That’s when it’s important to seek medical advice.

16-year-old Shayla Mitchell experienced a stubborn cough that wouldn’t go away. At first, she suspected it was just sinusitis. But one day, the discomfort became unbearable, and she asked her dad, Tom, to take her to see a doctor.

Tom gladly agreed and picked up his daughter after school to drive her to the hospital. Little did they know that this visit would change their lives forever. The doctor examined Shayla and delivered a devastating message.

Shayla had an enormous cancerous tumor that occupied nearly two-thirds of her breasts. It had even caused one of her lungs to collapse, which explained her prolonged illness and incessant coughing.

Despite the heartbreaking news, Shayla and her dad chose to carry on with their plans to have dinner together. They had it at the hospital instead of a restaurant. Unbeknownst to them, they would spend the next 450 meals in the pediatric oncology unit at Fairfax Hospital.

Shayla was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the prognosis was not optimistic. Tom wanted to show his daughter unwavering support, so he bought matching bracelets for both of them. He promised to wear his every day until Shayla beat the cancer.

For years, Tom stood by his daughter’s side, spending countless nights in the hospital as they fought this dreadful disease together. Shayla underwent numerous tests, blood transfusions, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and even experienced a cardiac arrest. But she never gave up.

For Tom, witnessing his daughter’s pain was agonizing. He was there to hold her hair while she vomited, to cry, laugh, and be brave alongside her. They had an unbreakable bond.

Then, the day arrived when doctors admitted they couldn’t do anything more for Shayla. Her body stopped responding to treatment, and a bone marrow transplant proved unsuccessful.

As Tom faced the daunting task of discussing the unimaginable with his beloved daughter, he mustered up the courage to tell her that she was going to die. It was a heart-wrenching conversation, filled with love and bravery.

But Shayla’s response left him speechless. She whispered, “Am I still brave, Dad?” in a weak voice. In that moment, Tom saw the immense pain she endured throughout her journey. She fought not just for herself, but also for him.

A few days later, Shayla passed away. Tom was devastated, but he knew one thing for certain: his daughter had fought with unwavering strength and fulfilled her promise to be brave until the end.

Please take a moment to honor Shayla and all the other children who have lost their lives to cancer. Share this heartfelt story with your friends on Facebook, letting their courage and resilience forever inspire us all.